Document Type : Original Article
PhD Candidate, SOAS University of London
The research examines the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the issuance and dissemination of fatwas in Sunni Islam today. It offers an overview of the history of fatwas and the radical changes that the discipline has undergone throughout Islamic history. It then proceeds to examine two case studies of AI employment in issuing a fatwa by two important institutions of Sunni Islam: The Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai and Al-Azhar Fatwa Global Centre in Cairo. Media presentations and examination of the actual “Virtual Ifta” service are feeding the data for the former and an unstructured interview with two Al-Azhar Fatwa Global Centre employees in Cairo for the latter. The findings demonstrate the competition over religious authority that those two case studies underline and the limitations and dangers of using AI in fatwa issuance. Finally, a survey designed for this research offers insight into the understanding and attitudes of lay Muslims on the matter.